Ireland voted No to the Treaty of Nice in 2001, and was made to vote again in 2002 – with clarifications guaranteeing Irish neutrality. So if you vote No, you extract concessions, and hence you can manage to get what you want. 2008 – repeat performance. Or that’s at least my interpretation of the results of a Eurobarometer survey of 2000 Irish voters conducted after the referendum – see all the details in French in this post from Jean Quatremer. While ignorance of the contents of the Treaty (sadly) figures high among the reasons for voting No, loss of an Irish member of the European Commission and tax harmonisation are concrete concerns cited. Grounds for accommodation of those Irish views?
But set this in the wider context. If the EU were to try to agree treaties again in the future and more countries held referendums, then the danger is surely that every country would want to get its concession, and many of those concessions would undoubtedly be contradictory. In some way the Irish electorate learnt from the 2001-2002 experience, and that’s hit the EU in 2008. So even if this time things can be resolved one way or another what’s the option for the future?
(and yes, you’re welcome to say in the comments that the solution is no institutional reforms, bla, bla, but – as before – I’ll approve those comments, take on board the sensible comments, but I’m still as committed as ever to the cause of democratising the EU in the future, and that the Treaty of Nice is inadequate)